Aryna Sabalenka's loss to Coco Gauff in the U.S. Open final has been making headlines, not only for the intense match but also for Sabalenka's emotional reaction afterwards. Cameras captured the Belarusian star venting her frustrations on her racket in the player's area. Sabalenka, who will become the new world No. 1 on Monday, had initially dominated the match, winning the first set 6-2. However, Gauff's resilience and ability to prolong rallies seemed to throw Sabalenka off her game, leading to a series of unforced errors that ultimately cost her the championship.
Footage from Eurosport France showed Sabalenka placing her runner-up trophy in her bag before grabbing one of her Wilson tennis rackets. In a fit of frustration, she peered at it momentarily before forcefully smashing it on the ground. This was not the first time Sabalenka had sacrificed a racket during the tournament. In her semifinal match against Madison Keys, she had also resorted to smashing a racket and even attempted to send it back up to her coaching box.
Judy Murray, mother of British tennis star Andy Murray and a renowned tennis coach herself, came to Sabalenka's defense on social media. Murray argued that the footage of Sabalenka's outburst should never have been made public, as it was a private moment in an empty training room after the disappointment of losing a Grand Slam final. It remains unknown how the video was recorded, although some speculate it may have been for the Netflix series "Break Point," which documents the lives of tennis players on tour.
Sabalenka's loss to Gauff was undoubtedly a blow to her, especially considering her recent success. She had already secured a Grand Slam title earlier this year with her Australian Open victory. However, her performance in the U.S. Open final was marred by a staggering 46 unforced errors, compared to Gauff's 19. Sabalenka acknowledged her mistakes and expressed her desire for a different outcome in future matches against Gauff.
Despite her disappointment, Sabalenka displayed sportsmanship and grace during the trophy ceremony. Fighting back tears, she congratulated Gauff on her remarkable performance and praised her as one of the rising stars of the game. Gauff, in turn, commended Sabalenka's talent and expressed her hope for more future encounters and finals between them.
Sabalenka's reaction to her loss serves as a reminder of the emotional toll that competitive sports can take on athletes. It highlights the pressure and intensity that come with competing at the highest level. As Sabalenka transitions to the top spot in the world rankings, she will undoubtedly strive to learn from this experience and channel her emotions in a more constructive manner in future matches.